Medical Helicopter Paying Off

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

A local child who nearly drowned Monday at a Meridian day care facility benefited from specialized medical attention that would have been delayed just a few months ago.

Monday's near-drowning of a young child could have ended worse if things had not fallen into place just right.

Meridian Fire Chief Jeff Homan said that immediate CPR from employees of Barbara Henson's Day Care and Swim Gym helped, but the fact the patient had quick medical attention from specialists in Jackson was also important.

"Getting a helicopter based in Meridian and cutting down the flight time between Meridian and Jackson, going to an actual Level One Trauma Care Center such as University Medical Center, it cuts the time in half," Homan said.

Clayton Cobler, director of Metro Ambulance, said the call that the young boy may have drowned was received at 9:11 a.m. Monday. Metro arrived 5 minutes and 51 seconds later, and paramedics immediately began treating the victim.

At 9:44 a.m., less than half an hour later, the child arrived at a Meridian hospital. Within minutes, he was in the air and on his way to University Medical Center in Jackson.

"A ground ambulance takes about an hour and ten minutes to get from Meridian to Jackson with a critical patient, with all the bumps. With air care, it takes probably thirty to forty-five minutes, if that long. They land it at UMC. It's a Level One Trauma Center. It's the only one in the state. It's fantastic," Cobler said,

It was one of three flights in the day for Air Care, which flies out of Key Field in Meridian. This medical emergency was a good example of the importance of medical air transportation. The other flights were to other parts of the state.

This chopper is equipped and its personnel trained to do anything that can be done in an emergency room. They are also trained in critical care and can do nearly any task that happens in an intensive care unit as well.

At last check, the young boy's condition was improving. His name has not been made available.

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